_Mattallica's comments

Edited by _Mattallica

@ribeye: Yeah I heard about that. They are apparently waiting on Microsoft to strike a deal as they can't start full production without knowing they have a publisher. MS would be crazy to not do it though as it fits the always online Xbox One perfectly. With how well this game has sold I think it's only a matter of time.

Posted by _Mattallica

@Ace20A:

Hi there. Thanks for reading my review. I'm disappointed that you misunderstood many of the points I was making. Hopefully I can clear a few things up.

@Ace20A said:

find it hard to talk about specifics in this game without comparing to others in the genre

Typical GTA fan boy's review, can't even talk about it without comparing to GTA 4, biased opinions everywhere.

I appreciate being called a GTA fanboy but unfortunately that is not true. As far as GTA IV is concerned, I am far more critical of that game that many other people and if I did review it in the future I could write for a while about the problems I have with that game.

"Unlikable", "unrelatable" characters? PLEASE! When does an American like you ever relate yourself to Asian people?

I am not American but thank you for the assumption! Also I don't think you need to be the same ethnicity of a person to relate to them.

"Muddled story"? Yeah, and Saints Row 3's story is just soo deep right? And of course you just have to bring GTA 4 in, AGAIN.

I never said Saint's Row 3 has a deep story. It has a very thin story. It doesn't however tell it in a muddled way. The reason I mention GTA IV so much is because it is by far the most well recieved and most played sandbox game of this generation. It would be incompetent to not mention it whilst reviewing a game of the same genre.

Just because GTA is the biggest name in the open-world genre, doesn't mean every game that features crimes and gangs is its "clones".

'GTA Clones' is a phrase that has been used since GTA 3 was released. I did not come up with this phrase and I'm sorry if you have never heard of it before.

I hope this clears a few things up. Thanks for reading!

Posted by _Mattallica

Going into Bully: Scholarship Edition I was definitely excited to try a completely different experience from one of my favorite publishers, Rockstar Games. Being a huge fan of Grand Theft Auto, Manhunt and Max Payne I wanted to see whether the usually adult company could create a world and story not involving murders, drugs and the usual Rockstar conventions. What I got was a fantastic concept with likeable characters and varied gameplay. Bully stands alone as a completely different experience to the rest of the open world market and makes egging cars and panty raiding just as fun as performing drug deals and killing prostitutes. Let me explain why Bully should be played by all genre fans.

The story of Bully sees problem child Jimmy Hopkins being dropped off at his new school by his mother and step father ready to start the next year. As Jimmy soon finds out the school consists of many cliques and he must take control of all these groups if he is to survive his time at Bullworth academy. What starts as a pretty interesting foundation for a compelling story unfortunately never takes off and never really expands beyond the opening cinematic. I found the story to be disappointing and incredibly boring compared to other Rockstar titles which showed a lot of promise but ultimately didn't go anywhere. Jimmy is a unique protagonist and a breath of fresh air to play as in a market flooded with alpha males and very different to others in previous Rockstar games but I would have liked to have seen him fleshed out more and developed as the story progressed more than just a problem child that fights to survive.

"Jimmy Hopkins being dropped off at his new school by his mother"

The main story missions involve Jimmy doing various tasks for or against the various cliques such as helping the geeks stand up to the bullies by protecting them as they go to class or angering the jocks by sabotaging a big game of football, in the disguise of the team's mascot of course. The missions are pretty varied and do a good job of making sure you see all of the locations while you are partaking in them. The game does suffer from repetition like most games of this genre do where you will find yourself going to one place, collecting an item and then traveling back to where you started. Typical fetch quests that people will bound to get sick of quickly are unfortunately prevalent and the game could have had less of these filler missions and probably have been a better, shorter experience for it.

One of the main restrictions in this game is time. A clock is always on screen which shows time translating one real life minute to one in game hour and Jimmy must partake in two classes a day until he has passed every class before he can explore Bullworth in peace. Skip class and you will be hounded by the prefects and dragged back to class if they catch you. Perform truancy frequently and you could see yourself in detention, performing tasks such as mowing lawns for free as punishment. I like this mechanic as it makes the game very realistic but these restrictions on an open world game will surely frustrate a majority of its audience. If you've played similar games with these time mechanics such as Pikmin or Dead Rising like myself, this won't be a problem at all.

The classes which you should partake in during your school days consist of many different mini games such as making as many words as you can from a set of letters in English, to learning new fighting moves by wrestling in P.E. I enjoyed these mini games as it really broke up the gameplay nicely and was a good change of pace for an open world game to do something entirely different each day. Dodge ball is great fun albeit slightly easy and the benefits you unlock in class such as an ungraded bicycle in Shop class definitely make turning up to class worth your time.

The graphics are pretty nice and better than I was expecting for this game. Although it is a remake, the game originally only came out in 2006 so graphically the game is pretty much a HD version of a nice looking title in the first place . Aesthetically the game looks quite cartoony which fits great with the setting and humor of the game and is a very nice change to the darker adult Rockstar titles. To have a upbeat lighter more child friendly atmosphere although doesn't sound appealing at first, really is a delight.

"learning new fighting moves by wrestling"

The controls work well with a simple but nice combat system and good use of weapons such as the slingshot and faster traveling available at all times with the skateboard which again handles better than you would assume. Aiming with the slingshot is quite odd and takes some getting used to if you are trying to line up a specific shot. However when fighting enemies the lock on feature works just fine.

Probably the worst part about the entire game is the appalling almost non existent soundtrack. Rockstar titles pride themselves on having some of the best soundtracks in all of Video games but it's like they forgot to add one to this game. It contains no commercial music whatsoever and the music in this game is used to create atmosphere, such as getting more dramatic when a prefect is chasing you. However, in a large game like this it becomes tedious very quickly and I'm glad they never bought this idea over to their bigger franchises.

A part that really surprised me whilst playing Bully was how well the open world has been created considering the game is pretty linear. Of course Rockstar specialize in this but this title really didn't need such a vibrant and realistic town in the background but really adds to the realism of the game. The carnival in particular is fantastic with working rides and attractions, something that isn't even prevalent in the GTA games. (Previous GTA games have had non working rides and Vice City Stories had a working Ferris wheel but not a whole carnival. GTA IV originally had working rides but was removed from the final game).

The game has a ton of extra features that accompany the main story throughout your experience including side missions (errands), races (bicycle and go kart), jobs such as paper route and lawn mowing and tons of mini games throughout. These include boxing, penalty shoot outs and the tons of different games and attractions at the carnival which I mentioned earlier. Overall the game took me about 16 hours finish the main story but that was with doing tons of exploring in-between the missions such as doing every race and job. To get the full 100% including every collectible took another 6 hours after the story was finished so overall you definitely get a lot of value with this game and have plenty of reasons to continue playing after story completion.

"the carnival in particular is fantastic with working rides and attractions"

One of the main problems I had with this game was unfortunately the amount of glitches I ran into. Other than a few small ones here and there that you would expect from an open world game the biggest problems came when glitches prevented me from continuing a mission. For example, one mission you have to go through the fun house at the carnival which was very cool, or would have been had I not had to do it three times due to encountering horrible glitches. First time I tried I couldn't exit a room as the button prompt to leave never came up. The second time I tried to go down a ladder and just got stuck hovering in mid air and I couldn't do anything to move the player. This is incredibly frustrating when you have to reload the game up, potentially losing some of your progress if you don't save frequently and ruins the momentum and immersion of the game.

The thing I enjoyed the most about Bully was definitely the setting as I loved playing as a teenager and doing less adult violent actions in a Rockstar title. Instead of going on murderous rampages I took part in classes, gave wedgies to the bullies and even earned tickets at the carnival games in exchange for a cuddly toy for whatever girl I happened to bring along. Make no mistake this definitely has the Rockstar charm we all know and love but seeing it used in a different way was incredibly refreshing. Their childish humor actually works better with younger characters and as we see franchises like Grand Theft Auto seemingly steering more and more away from this, perhaps Bully is where this humor belongs.

This game takes me back to when I first played Red Dead Revolver. A fantastic setting with a completely different take on the open world that had huge potential but something just didn't click. The undertaking was probably too big at the time and the developers didn't fully understand what they were trying to achieve. Then Red Dead Redemption came out and blew everyone away. Rockstar have never shied away from talking about potential sequels to Bully and it wouldn't surprise if we see them revisit the franchise on the next generation. It really makes you wonder what Rockstar could achieve if they gave Bully 2 the same amount of time and love that Redemption received, we really could see something special.

Until then enjoy this fine underrated, charming game which for some reason seems to have flown under the radar for most which is a massive shame. Bully deserves to be played whether you are a fan of Rockstar Games, or even if you are not. With a fine setting, bags of charm and personality and some pretty solid mechanics, you could do far worse than picking up this game and getting lost in the trials and tribulations of a typical teenage school boy. Typical by Rockstar standards anyway.

Posted by _Mattallica

The second Matrix game to hit consoles following the mixed reviewed Enter the Matrix comes Path of Neo, which follows a different path to its predecessor by this time letting the player control the one himself through all the movies in the trilogy and more. While some felt that Enter The Matrix was rushed to be out when the movies were released did the extra development time for this game pay off? Do we finally get the definitive Matrix experience on gaming devices that can stand alongside the movies with pride. Let's first start with this game's unusual production.

"Enter the Matrix... which told the story of Niobe and Ghost"

The game's development is a very interesting story if you haven't heard it and quite surprising as well. Shiny Entertainment released Enter The Matrix as a companion to the last two Matrix movies which told the story of Niobe and Ghost and what they were doing when the movies take place. The story was an original one written by the Wachowski brothers and even contained exclusive live action cutscenes filmed during the production of the movies. This was a very nice fresh approach to the usual video game adaption of movies and I think the way this genre should have continued in the future. But this wasn't the case.

Gaming journalists and players alike criticised Enter The Matrix for not having the main characters of the film and wanted to just play the scenes they saw in the movies, not learn something new about the Matrix universe. The outcry was so loud that Shiny Entertainment decided to make a game where you play entirely as Neo and recreate all your favourite scenes from the movies. So when the game that everyone wanted the first time around came out, was it worth the wait and everything the fans wanted? Let's see.

Lets start with the story. The first two movies adapted in this game are very well done (I'll take about the third movie later on). It contains all of the scenes you would want them to recreate such as the subway fight scene from the first movie and Neo vs unlimited Agent Smiths after visiting The Oracle in The Matrix Reloaded. It does quite a nice job of filling some of the gaps the movies leave but I find this odd as the whole point of this game is to recreate scenes we know, not to show what we didn't see. Enter The Matrix did that fantastically yet people complained. But I digress.

Overall the game is paced well but has some slumps such as during the 'Reloaded' portion we have to save random people from agents as we convert them to our side. Again, this seemed more in place with the previous game and will distract many players from what they got the game for. The story is told by showing footage from the movies then thrusting the player immediately into whatever situation the characters from the movie are in. It's a quick and easy approach to get to the action quicker which is good but if you aren't entirely familiar with the trilogy it can be rather confusing.

"The combat in this game is fantastic."

The combat in this game is fantastic. As you would expect from the previous game which has a very good fighting system this game is no different. You can pull off all the moves you see from the movies and more with bullet time never becoming dull during the game. The further you progress, the more moves you unlock and the more awesome you will be become. The gun play is fine albeit pretty simple but does the job in a game where using Melee weapons or your own fists is where you will have the most fun. Games like the Arkham series have been lorded as having very impressive combat systems but for a game that's 7 years old, the combat holds up really well and doesn't feel dated at all.

The graphics aren't the best in the world and take some getting used to after playing HD games the last few years but aren't bad enough to distract from the experience. The only shame is that they are slightly worse than Enter The Matrix which came before it but I guess that's more of a compliment to that game than a criticism of this one.

The authenticity of this game is very good but does have some small flaws. The biggest disappointment by far is the lack of voice actors with only Lawrence Fishburne reprising his role of Morpheus from the movies. This can distract from what is otherwise a very faithful and engrossing adaption. The bullet time and combat looks and feels just like they should and the look of the characters and the world including code vision really feel like they're straight from the movie.

It would be impossible to review this game without talking about the ending so a clear SPOILER ALERT from this point on. The ending to this game is one of the most ridiculous things I've ever played in my life. The Matrix Revolutions part of this game consists entirely of just the final battle between Agent Smith and Neo on the streets with the rain falling hard. Many people will be happy that this is the only part of this movie present but it seems very odd that even the Wachowski brothers themselves deemed this the only part interesting enough for the game. But if you thought that choice was weird it gets better. After defeating Smith in the street you may think the game is over. You would be wrong.

"forming a giant Agent Smith. Complete with giant sunglasses of course."

What happens next is pretty simple. The Wachowski brothers pop up on the screen, in 8 bit form, to explain how the martyr ending of the movie wouldn't make a very good video game ending and so have decided to completely change it to make the game more fun for the player. Still with me so far? A cutscene then shows all of the Agent Smiths on the street being pulled together, along with cars and rubble, forming a giant Agent Smith. Complete with giant sunglasses of course. Getting over how completely ludricous and insane it is to change the ending after what has been a pretty faithful video game adaption so far I could forgive them if what they gave was what they promised. A fun ending to the game. They did not give this at all.

What follows is the most boring boss battle in the history of video games. Dodge, attack. That's it. Dodge what MegaSmith throws, attack him. Rinse and repeat many, many times. Without taking one hit this took 25 minutes. If you don't die of boredom once you defeat MegaSmith you will then see film footage from the final moments of The Matrix Revolutions with Queen's "We Are The Champions" playing over the top. No joke. I honestly think the developers even forgot there was a third Matrix movie and after making two good adaptions they made the third one during the last week of development. It really has to be seen to believed.

Bar the games very odd and out of place finale I did thoroughly enjoy my experience with Path of Neo. I preferred Enter The Matrix which I think is a criminally underrated game but that isn't important here. What's important is that Path Of Neo deserves to be played if your a fan of the series or a fan of action games in general. I picked this game up for next to nothing this year and got 8-10 hours worth of entertainment which more than justified the purchase. If you are like me and still enjoy dusting off the PS2 every so often then I'd definitely recommend giving this game a go.

Posted by _Mattallica

The latest game in the open world crime genre sees Sleeping Dogs make its case for signalling a change of direction in a seemingly saturated market. Set in Hong Kong, the game follows in the footsteps of Saints Row: The Third by being a different alternative to juggernaut that is Grand Theft Auto. Where Saints Row is all about being over the top and ridiculous, Sleeping Dogs tries to be different by being in a completely different setting to the norm and tells the story of a somewhat 'good' guy for a change. Does it succeed? I don't think so.

"Buying NARC the day it came out is money I'll never get back."

I feel that I need to state that I'm a huge fan of 'GTA Clones'. Particularly last generation I bought anything that remotely resembled GTA. Sometimes it paid off with the likes of The Getaway and True Crime: Streets of LA, other times it didn't. Buying NARC the day it came out is money I'll never get back. This generation hasn't had as many clones as last did but the ones that have come out have been fantastic. OK, back to Sleeping Dogs.

The story follows a murky path that tries to blur the line of good and bad, what's right and what's wrong and tries to justify the ultra violence of its protagonist. I find this approach interesting but ultimately falling flat the further I progressed. My problem wasn't with the content so much as I just didn't care in the end. This is probably due to unlikable or unrelatable characters mixed with a muddled story which unfortunately results into something that is OK but completely forgettable.

The shooting and driving mechanics are fine as are the graphics and sound. I find it hard to go into detail because it's pretty much what you would expect from a game this generation. Nothing is laughably bad or makes the game unplayable but also doesn't do anything you haven't seen before and ultimately left me feeling like I've played this game many times before. The voice acting is fine but if you go play L.A Noire then play Sleeping Dogs you see how far behind this game is from the best on the market.

"slamming a guy's head through a fish tank is undeniably fun."

The combat system is very fun and adds something somewhat new to what you would usually expect in this genre. Seeing as this project started as True Crime 3 it's no surprise the game borrows heavily from previous titles in having a great entertaining fighting system. Very Arkham-esque in its execution the more moves you unlock the better you will become. By far the most entertaining aspect of fighting is the environment kills that will no doubt divide audiences. Sure, they are incredibly gimmicky and can become tiresome after a while, but slamming a guy's head through a fish tank is undeniably fun.

My personal favorite part of the game is the somewhat 'free running' aspect that is present during some chases. The controls work very fluidly as you vault over tables, climb walls and jump over rooftops. This is when the city really shines also, seeing it from above shows the detail that has been put into recreating Hong Kong and I wish the city felt so beautiful when driving around as It does during these sequences.

I find it hard to talk about specifics in this game without comparing to others in the genre. This game does nothing bad at all, my problem is that it doesn't do anything better than what's already on the market. If you want the most fun open world experience, buy Saints Row: The Third. If its story you are after then look no further than GTA IV or it's fantastic DLC (Episode from Liberty City). Even Crackdown has a lot more going on and had lots more to do after you have finished the game.

And those games are only from this generation. The Getaway still has probably the best story told in this genre and the first True Crime has a just as good combat system and nice morality system. And that's not even comparing it to the PS2 GTA Trilogy, three of the best games ever made.

Describing this game to someone who hasnt played it is hard as it really does very little to try to be different to what gamers have seen over the years. When I was playing the game everything was just so average and adequate, nothing was outstanding or felt like something I hadn't seen or played before. Sleeping Dogs isn't a bad game at all, I just can't see what it's unique selling point is and why I would ever recommend someone to play it. It's hard because there is so many better, cheaper options on the market like Saints Row and GTA. If you are absolutely massive fan of open world games then you will undoubtedly enjoy but as one of the biggest GTA clone fans there is, I find this game one of the more forgettable offerings in recent years.

Some of the best open world games over the years have had me going back for more every few months, some even after the generation has passed. Earlier this year I must have completed The Getaway for the 10th time and that's not even thinking about the time I have spent in the fictional cities in the GTA universe. However if you ask me about my experience I had playing Sleeping Dogs this time next year, I may just say Sleeping what?